Cross-border deal volume stable, but value plummets

Olly Tebbutt

North West of England listed businesses completed 17 cross-border transactions in the first quarter of 2019 – just one fewer than that seen in the same quarter of last year, according to Deloitte. 

In total, 11 transactions were completed by North West firms acquiring overseas assets, with six inbound investments made by foreign buyers.

This is in contrast to last year’s figures, which saw 11 inbound deals and seven acquisitions made by the region’s businesses.

Conducted in partnership with Experian MarketIQ, the research revealed that the value of transactions fell, with £276 million worth of deals reported in Q1 2019.

In comparison, the first quarter of 2018 saw more than £2 billion of transactions completed, as overseas companies increasingly looked to secure North West assets.

Key deals completed in the first quarter of this year included the £232 million acquisition of US-based cloud identity and age verification software company IDology by Chester-based identity data company GB Group, as well as City Football Group’s addition of Chinese football club Sichuan Jiuniu FC for an undisclosed fee.

Transactions with the US remained the most prominent, with more than a third of deals involving an American company.

Behind this, European countries contributed to five deals, with South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Australia also active.

Olly Tebbutt, partner at Deloitte in the North West, said: “Despite the general market feeling that we have had a slow start to the year for deals, we have seen similar volumes of cross-border activity to last year.

“This highlights that the region remains an attractive proposition for international companies, and demonstrates the ongoing appetite from North West companies to go global.

“It is also interesting to see such a broad spread of global markets being targeted for overseas expansion, particularly in the Middle East, Africa and Australasia.

“With cities like Manchester and Liverpool, the region is quickly becoming recognised globally for its growth potential and innovation, and we expect to see deal flow continue in the coming months.”